Category Archives: Armchair Tourist

The Only Reason to Visit New York

I know, I know….most of the state is nothing like the Big Apple™. Still, it gets cold up there, so it’s not on my list of destinations. I would make an exception for this, though:

I would be there with lightsaber on 😉

Creatively borrowed from Sanyo Soup.

I Stumbled into Twin Peaks, and Didn’t Even Get Cherry Pie

As some of y’all may know, I took the kidlets on a roadtrip to the town of Comfort, Texas. Comfort is a hidden gem in the west of Hill Country. It is famous for its architecture, as well as being the site of the only Union monument in Confederate territory. Treue der Union Monument is dedicated to the German abolitionists who chose to flee rather than be conscripted into the Confederate Army. This was a great opportunity to teach kids a bit about Texas and Civil War history, as well as 19th century architecture, while spending quality time together.

The drive was uneventful, with a couple of minor traffic jams, but we made pretty good time, arriving there around noon. The first thing we notice is the lack of signs letting us know where the historical district resides. No matter, I just figure we drive around and eventually hit it, by counting the numbered streets. Sure enough, we stumble upon the lovely High Street area. I park further down on 6th Street, since the parking is already full, and we proceed to walk towards High Street. As soon as we start to cross, we see the Comfort Bank.

Beautiful, isn’t it? Stonework and brickwork dating back to the mid 1800’s. And the majority of the street has similar architecture, including the old Saloon and the owner’s abode. But then things started getting weird. Continue reading

Tropical Treasure

One of my favorite little critters is the coquí, the national symbol of Puerto Rico. It is one of the cutest tree frogs, or hylas, in the world. They aren’t poisonous, but are very abundant, and because they are so small, they are everywhere.

Their song is a beautiful lullaby after a rain, and at night. It is said that a coquí will not sing outside of Puerto Rico, so here is a taste of nighttime in my tropical home:

Now, what I call a lullaby, others call a cacophony. My brother went to PR to visit for a week, hanging out with my dad. And this was our conversation via text:

Bro: (sends pic of coquí in can)

Me: How adorable!

Bro: No, how effin noisy.


Bro: I feel accomplished for catching two in one night. Dad told me I achieved Hubby status.

Me: (laughs even harder)

Me: (catching my breath) Are they still yapping?

Bro: No, I threw them into the empty lot next door.

Me: (laughs hard enough to choke)

Bro: People that don’t know Puerto Ricans think that they yell because they are mad… but I think it’s just because sustained time on this island is cause for auditory damage.

I suppose it’s all relative. 😉

A Local Haunting

Today is Halloween, the day when we gorge on ill-gotten sweets try to fake out evil spirits before All Saints Day. I shall be super busy altering Eldest’s costume today, but I thought it would be fun to regale you with one of our famous ghosts.

Her name was Sally White, and she was a chambermaid at the famous Menger Hotel. The Menger is the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi. Opened in 1859, it was built on the site of the Menger Brewery, for the frequent visitors who otherwise couldn’t travel back to their homes. It has hosted presidents, generals, and celebrities. Sally White worked there during the 1870’s. Legend goes that one night she and her husband had an argument, and Sally decided to stay at the hotel overnight, instead of returning to her home. Her husband, in a fit of rage, threatened to kill her the following day, and later went on to attack her in the hotel. She suffered for two days before dying of her injuries. Mr. Menger paid for her doctor and her funeral, and in her debt for that kindness, Sally White roams the halls of the Victorian Wing, wearing a gray skirt, and carrying a load of towels for the guests.

The Menger Hotel is still a big attraction for the famous and not-so-famous alike. It is also part of the local ghost tour, which includes The Alamo. If y’all ever come to San Antonio, it is worth checking out, not only for the beauty of the hotel, but the rich history.

And on that note, have a great Halloween!! 😀

Everything Old is New Again

Yesterday, I spent my day at Aquarena Springs. For once the weather co-operated and behaved itself as we toured the Texas State University ecological facility.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, Aquarena Springs is the site of Texas’ first amusement park. It is probably the most important archaeological, anthropological and ecological site in the state of Texas. Evidence of human settling has been found dating back thousands of years. In the 19th century, people came from all over the world to enjoy the springs for its therapeutic properties. Becoming popular in the early 20th century, the owner opened a hotel at the springs in 1928, which hosted many famous people, including Jay Gould, and most famously, Johnny Weismuller.

The Aquarena Hotel

It even hosted Robert E. Lee at the resort while he was stationed at Fort Mason. The hotel is now the Texas Rivers Center.

Continue reading

A Study in Contrasts

I was so lucky! I had the chance to speak to Hubby while he was on a tour of Egypt. Skype is not very dependable in *ahem* certain Middle Eastern countries. But he was very excited to have toured Karnak and Luxor and cruised the Nile River. This is where he is today:

And this is what I’ll be doing:

Sometimes, life can be so funny….

Does anyone know if napalm is good for mold??? 😉

Near and Far

A while back, my friend Roamy suggested places we’ve been as a topic for the blog, and it got me to thinking. It’s tough to beat being raised in a tropical island, you know. This is the river in back of my elementary school:

The schoolrooms were a converted cockfighting arena (true story), but the view was totally worth it! Growing up in Puerto Rico, I had the chance to see beaches, desert, rainforest, mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, all in the span of a day. It was wonderful.

Now that I am an Army wife, I get to see other places. Stationed in Europe, we got to see Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Crete, France, Austria, and Italy. Personally, I had no desire to see Holland or Belgium. But I did wish to see Spain, and where my relatives came from. Still, I got to see a lot, and if I had to pick my favorite of all, I would have to say Poland.

It was like a page from a fairytale. And in that fairytale, the bad guys had been vanquished. I hope I get the chance to go back, and drink some Żubrówka, eat pierogies, and hear wonderful stories about Boleslawiec.

And what places would y’all like to visit?